Israeli film ‘Restoration’ wins at Karlovy Vary

At the 46th KVIFF, the top Czech film fest, the jury led by Hungary’s Istvan Szabo awarded top prizes to 12 films from 13 countries

Staff Writer 11.7.2011

“Restoration,” Israeli director Joseph Madmony’s touching study starring Sasson Gabai, won the grand prize at the 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) over the weekend, at which a jury led by Hungarian director Istvan Szabo awarded top prizes to 12 films from 13 countries.

“‘Restoration’ was a labor of love — lacking money, I gave it all my heart and now I feel as if the movie is paying me back,” said Madmony, as cited by Screen Daily. “And to be awarded the KVIFF Grand Prix-Crystal Globe by one of my inspirations as a film student, Istvan Szabo, as head of the jury, makes me as happy and grateful as I can be.”

Madmony’s story centering around a struggling furniture restoration, a psychological study of characters in contemporary Israeli society, examines the problems the shop owner and his son encounter after his business partner dies. It took home the Crystal Globe prize and $30,000 (Madmony’s film previously won the screenwriting award in Sundance).

Martin Sulik’s coming-of-age story, the Czech/Slovak “Gypsy,” won a special jury mention and $20,000 (a jury special mention also went to the young actor Jan Mizigar). French helmer Pascal Rabate took top honors as director for his quirky comedy “Holidays by the Sea.”

David Morse won best actor for his role as the voluble Gus in Martin Donovan’s directorial debut, Canadian/US entry “Collaborator,” about two ex-neighbors who debate love and liquor in the midst of a hostage situation, which also won the Fipresci. Stine Fischer Christensen took home the actress prize for Germany’s “Cracks in the Shell.”

The prize celebrating work from the former East bloc went to Vladimir Blazevski’s Macedonian/Serbian “Punk’s Not Dead” with a special mention going to Victor Ginzberg's Russian entry “Generation P.”

In the documentary category, Eva Mulvad’s (Denmark) look at former millionaires, “The Good Life” took top honors, and Marcin Koszalka's (Poland) study of mountain climbers, “Declaration of Immortality,” was voted best top short documentary.

The Forum of Independents prize went to the offbeat comedy “Sunflower Hour” by Canada's Aaron Houston and the audience prize went to Matej Minac’s Czech/Slovak “Nicky’s Family,” a factual account of the rescue of scores of children from the Holocaust by Sir Nicholas Winton.

US actor, screenwriter and director John Turturro, who presented the world premiere of his film “Somewhere Tonight” at the festival, received the KVIFF President’s Prize.